The classic history of the muckraking era (1902-1914) has been extended to trace the muckrakers' influence through World War II and McCarthyism, the civil rights movement and the counterculture, Korea and Vietnam, Naderism and women's liberation, and Watergate. (Former editions stopped with the New Deal.) The book that Allan Nevins called, "By all odds the best account in print of a most interesting movement," now embodies the challenge of the muckrakers to Americans of the seventies.
Professor Filler has added a new introduction and a new final chapter, "The Anguish of Change." and has updated facts, interpretations, and references throughout the book. He also has updated his chronology and bibliography and has added four newly discovered cartoons and drawings to the twenty-two illustrations appearing in previous editions.
Modern heirs of the muckraking tradition--Jack Anderson, Bernstein and Woodward, Dan Ellsberg, James Forman, Abbie Hoffman, Ralph Nader, I.F. Stone, and various TV talk-show personalities--are treated fairly but astringently. So too are revisionist critics of the original muckrakers. Today's journalistic investigators and social critics, in Professor Filler's view, lack the historical perspective and the emphatic sensitivity of their precursors. His opinion on this score will be controversial, but would be understood by Ida Tarbell, who wrote of the first edition, "His liberal sympathies give warmth to his narrative and his honesty as an investigator gives it trustworthiness."